US president-elect Donald Trump has confirmed that among his first actions as president will be to “free up” and “fire up” the shale gas and “clean coal”, promising “millions” of jobs by beginning his assault on Barack Obama Clean Power Plan.
In a video update on the Presidential Transition, Trump outlined some policy plans for his first 100 days in office, and his day one executive actions when he takes over the reins on January 20 2017.
It was part of a package in which he promised to quit the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, bump up security, and cut down on visa “abuses”, and crackdowns on government officials becoming lobbyists, although not lobbyists becoming government officials.
On energy, he said he would “cancel job-killing restrictions” on the production of American fossil fuel resources, including unconventional shale energy and the yet-to-move-beyond-conceptual clean coal. He said this would create “many millions” of jobs.
It came on the same day that Canada, north of the border, flagged it would quit coal generation by 2030, and as international investors raised questions about the wisdom of investing in fossil fuels.
Andrew Logan, Director of the Oil & Gas Program at Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk (North America) said,
“No matter the outcome of the US election, global policy momentum and rapid technological change are combining to create significant risks for the oil and gas sector,” said Andrew Logan, director of the Oil & Gas program at Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk (North America).
“Investors are increasingly concerned that the current business strategies of many companies may not be financially sustainable given these ongoing trends.”
One of those job-killing restrictions Trump is referring to is likely the US EPA-based policy President Obama committed to in March of this year, alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The joint US-Canada pact aims to reduce methane emissions by 40-45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025 from the oil and gas sector, as well as explore opportunities for additional methane reductions.
The agreement, said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp a the time, “…addresses one of the most serious aspects of our climate crisis: methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
“Methane is responsible for about a quarter of today’s warming, and the US and Canada are the second- and fourth-largest emitters of oil and gas methane, respectively,” he said.
Needless to say, the move – which targeted new and established CSG projects – was not popular with America’s oil and gas industry, with an American Petroleum Industry representative describing it as “catering to environmental extremists at the expense of American consumers.”
Trump, however, appears hell bent on doing the opposite – catering to America’s fossil fuel lobby at the expense of the environment, global climate change efforts and the nation’s renewable energy industry – a plan he believes will create “many millions of high-paying jobs.”
Meanwhile, north of the US border in Canada, federal environment minister Catherine McKenna has rolled out a new plan to phase out the country’s coal-burning electricity plants by 2030.
“Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for years to come,” McKenna told reporters on Monday.
And here in Australia, the Victorian government’s legislation to completely ban all unconventional gas ”fracking” in the state is set to be tabled.
The ban, a policy first in Australia, is being introduced to parliament this week, and is expected to be passed with the support of all major parties.
A moratorium on all coal seam gas mining in the state has been in place in the state since the legislation was first proposed in August.
Update: The Guardian reported that Australia’s environment and energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, welcomed Trump’s commitment to lift restrictions on fossil fuel exploration within his first 100 days in the White House, saying the move will be a boon for consumers.